Origins of Conflict in Afghanistan

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Focusing on Afghanistan's relations with the West during the latter half of the 20th century, this study offers new insights on the long-term origins of the nation's recent tragedies. Roberts finds that, since the 1930s in particular, Afghanistan pursued policies far more complex, and considerably more pro-Western, than previous studies have surmised. By the end of the Second World War, Britain and Afghanistan seemed headed toward an extensive partnership in military and economic affairs. Opportunities to cement Afghanistan to the West existed, but ultimately ran afoul of regional politics, shortsighted policy, and indifference.

The rise of the Indian nationalist movement and the eventual partition of India would have strategic ramifications for Afghanistan. Pakistan and India, weakened and poised against each other, saw no reason to aid the Kabul regime, leaving only the United States as a potential benefactor. Successive American administrations, however, denied most Afghan requests. When the Eisenhower administration extended support to Pakistan, it alienated Afghan leaders, who then chose to broker a deal with the Soviet Union. Roberts analyzes recent American policy toward Afghanistan and its neighbors, clarifying the current situation and offering guidelines for future relations.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275978785
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/30/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

JEFFERY J. ROBERTS is Professor of History at Tennessee Technological University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Background to Afghanistan, Its History, and People
1 British Policy toward Afghanistan in the Nineteenth Century: The First Anglo-Afghan War 1
2 British Policy toward Afghanistan in the Nineteenth Century: The Second Anglo-Afghan War 13
3 The Reign of Abdur Rahman: Afghanistan as a "Buffer State" 25
4 The Rise and Fall of Amanullah: A Lesson in Modernization 37
5 Nadir Shah and Hashim Khan: The Dawn of Anglo-Afghan Cooperation 51
6 Afghanistan in the Second World War and the Origins of the "Lancaster Plan" 67
7 Afghanistan, British Strategy, and the Decision to Partition India 83
8 The Transfer of Power on the Northwest Frontier and the Origins of the "Pushtunistan" Dispute 103
9 The Strategic Ramifications of the Partition of India for Britain, the Successor States, and Afghanistan 117
10 The Truman Administration and American Policy in South Asia 131
11 The Eisenhower Administration's Defense Program and the Decision for Alliance with Pakistan 147
12 The Truman Administration and Afghanistan: The Helmand Valley Project, Pushtunistan, and Military Aid 161
13 The Eisenhower Administration, Afghanistan, and the Alliances 183
14 Mohammed Daoud, the Soviet-Afghan Agreements, and the Road to War, 1955-1979 205
15 Summary and Conclusions 221
Bibliography 241
Index 261
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